The year’s food trends that are here to stay
Cafe culture: Cafes sprang up at every nook and corner this year. Tea and coffee with light bites, and sometimes hookah, was every foodie businessman’s quick stairway to success. A trend that will continue to dot Calcutta’s food map next year.
Mediterranean: The trickle may have begun with Kookie Jar’s Shawarmas and continued with the Arhan Thai counter at Burp! (Forum’s food court). Then came Souk at Taj Bengal in 2009, Go Lebanese on Sarat Bose Road, Mezze near Minto Park, the brand-new Salsa Grill and now Mizuna, Speciality Restaurants’ latest venture set to debut in Pune and coming to Calcutta’s RPG Mall next. Looks like our Mediterranean layered cake might just have a delicious candied cherry on top.
Cupcakes: Gone are the days when cupcakes meant Rs 3 muffin-like cakes that came in your tiffin box. Now the very word creates visions of tiny dainty goodies topped with gooey pretty icing. From Mama Mia! and Afraa Deli in 2011 to specialised cupcake dens The Rouge and Mrs Magpie this year, we only hope this is just the sweet beginning!
Chinese with a twist: Zomato’s co-founder and COO Pankaj Chaddah told t2 that there are more Chinese restaurants in the city than any other. Now, along with China, its neighbours also seem to excite us on matters of taste — be it The Flying Monk that serves up everything from Malay to Singapore, or Straits with its Nonya cuisine. Coming up next year are Wang’s Kitchen by Oriental Cuisine Pvt Ltd who brought us Benjarong and Zara, and The Orient by Ambuja Realty, which will serve Southeast Asian food.
Go local: All good restaurateurs know the value of getting ingredients fresh off the shelf — at home. Bohemian’s chef Joymalya Banerjee explains ‘Go Local’ as a way of taking the food of Bengal to the world. “You don’t need Mascarpone for cheesecake if you can create something as delicious as Gondhoraj Cheesecake,” he says. Similarly, you don’t need mozzarella from Italy if you can make it in Sonarpur, which is where the cheese at Fire and Ice comes from!
Doughnut: A fresh doughnut can be a thing of joy. Something Calcutta is fast realising with a host of kiosks selling these deep-fried delights that came to town last year with D-Oh! Boy and this year with The Donut Baker.
Yogurt: If there was ever a way to have your ice cream and eat it too, this is it. Ninety-eight per cent fat-free frozen yogurts that you can dig into without sending your calorie count soaring, frozen yogurts are a weight-watching foodie’s dream. Yogen Fruz in Bhowanipore, Yogo in Alipore and Yoforia on Loudon Street, it’s definitely a trend we’ve seen a lot of in 2012.
A dozen THINGS WE WANT IN 2013
01Cake in a jar: Why bother cutting cake into pieces when you can just scoop it all up from a jar?
02 Macaroons: Soft and mellow macaroons — not the hard-to-bite-into versions.
03 Yogurt: Mumbai has one at every corner. We only have three — Yogen Fruz, Yogo and Yoforia.
04Mexican food: Think big fat beef burritos.
05 Asian food: Vietnamese and Korean cuisine that just doesn’t show up at food festivals.
06 Sushi bar: Where sushi is affordable and the Bento Box is for keeps!
07Thick dark hot chocolate: All we want is a decent cuppa.
08 Soup and salad delis: For the weight-watchers.
09 Malayali food: Like the Mutton Olathiyedu with appam at Ammini.
10 Between meals: Food is always on Calcutta’s mind — be it lunch or dinner time or that yawning gap in between! We want more all-day breakfast, tea-time and latenight places.
11 Speakeasy style bars: Delhi has at least two. Why don’t we have even one? Delhi’s speakeasy bar PCO, for example, is a three-storey bar which you can only enter if you know the pass code. We want!
12More Michelin-starred chefs: 2011 had one, so did 2012 — Baptiste Fournier who came to the city with a seven-course meal paired with Four Seasons wines.